Making Cents: Making the big switch is easier than you think

Making Cents: Making the big switch is easier than you think
Picture: iStock

A reader contacted me asking: “What is the best gas supplier and cheapest for my home? I have metered gas”.

Utilities are an area where many of us suspect we are paying more than we need to but a mixture of uncertainty and apathy makes us reluctant to change.

So with that in mind, I asked Daragh Cassidy, head of communications at comparison site bonkers.ie what advice he can offer.

He said: “The cheapest energy supplier for a customer will depend on several factors such as how much energy they use, whether they’re an urban or rural customer, whether they have a Night Saver meter installed — and if so how much energy they use at night — so there’s no simple answer to this question.

“The best thing is to use a price comparison site like bonkers.ie and input as much detail as possible and then get a result that’s tailored to your personal energy usage and circumstances.”

Is any particular supplier offering value at the moment, or is it dependent on customers changing regularly?

“There’s some great value out there for someone who is prepared to switch,” Mr Cassidy said.

“Both Flogas and Panda Power are offering heavy discounts at the moment to new customers.

"Both suppliers are offering a 30% discount off their standard rates for an entire year.

"New supplier Iberdrola also offers good value. Iberdrola is a huge Spanish utility company that trades as Scottish Power in Great Britain.

"It entered the gas market in Ireland a few months ago and is eager for new business so is also worth checking out.”

Aside from this particular reader, many people think it is just too much hassle to switch.

But Mr Cassidy believes more of us would take the plunge if we realised the level of savings available.

“Usually there are three main reasons why people don’t switch,” he said.

“Firstly, people don’t realise the savings that are available despite the fact that they could save hundreds a year.

“It’s crazy — we look at the price of a litre of petrol or a pint of beer like hawks but when it comes to energy we’re often happy to overpay.”

Making Cents: Making the big switch is easier than you think

And he insists it is not as tricky as people think.

“People think the process will be too cumbersome, which is a shame as switching energy supplier is genuinely one of the quickest and easiest household bills to switch,” he said.

“It can all be done online in the space of a few minutes and you don’t even need to contact your existing supplier if you don’t want to.

“Finally people are sometimes afraid that something will go wrong during the switchover process and that they could be disconnected and left in the dark.

"But unlike switching broadband provider, for example, where new equipment might have to be installed potentially leading to a short disruption in service, no new pipes or wires are being laid down.

You’re only switching supplier — you’ll still be getting your gas and electricity through the same network so there’s no fear of a disruption to your service.

With that in mind, Mr Cassidy offered these tips:

  • If you’re switching electricity you’ll need your MPRN (meter point reference number) — this is an 11-digit number found on your electricity bill and helps the energy suppliers identify your property. If you’re switching gas you’ll need your GPRN (gas point reference number) — a seven-digit number found on your gas bill.

  • A recent meter reading. You also need to know roughly how much energy you use in a year either in kWh or in euro.

  • You’ll also need to provide some personal details such as your home and email address and a contact number. You’ll also need to provide your bank account details

  • You can get a better estimate of your expected savings if you also know the name of the current plan that you’re on so it’s useful to have this to hand when switching as well. You can find this on a recent bill or by contacting your supplier.

    Deal of the week

    Making Cents: Making the big switch is easier than you think

    A new range coming into Aldi on Thursday is just the thing for anyone planning a spring refresh of their children’s bedrooms.

    No matter what your child’s taste there will be a style of bed linen to suit, with mermaid, space, safari, watermelon or under the sea themed options in their range of single easy care duvet sets for €9.99.

    The sets include a pillowcase and are machine washable, and for €3.99 you can add a fitted sheet in a range of colours.

    There are a range of accessories going on sale, including narwhals, planets, elephants, rainbows, or sharks in cushions for €6.99 and Mr Men™ and Little Miss™ Character Warmers for €7.99.

    These feature an inner microwaveable ceramic bead pouch that gently releases heat and are suitable for ages 3+ years.

    There are also storage bags, soft throws, and printed pillows available, in sale in all stores from Thursday February 6.

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